‘Mountain’ of fraud allegations cited by DA seeking Trump’s tax papers

New York: The Manhattan District Attorney's office has told a federal appeals court that its quest to gain access to US President Donald Trump’s tax returns is supported by “a mountainous record" of public allegations of misconduct.

The President and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jnr have been battling for more than a year over a subpoena sent to Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, seeking eight years worth of his tax documents.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jnr leads the investigation into US President Donald Trump’s tax affairs.Credit:AP

Layers for Trump have argued that Vance, a Democrat, is just trying to smear the President with an overly broad investigation that has no legal basis.

In a filing with the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, lawyers for Vance again declined to reveal exactly why Trump is under investigation, citing grand jury secrecy rules.

But they cited multiple news reports in which Trump or his companies have been accused of overstating the value of his assets when dealing with potential business partners and lenders while minimising the value of those same assets for tax purposes.

US President Donald Trump calls the New York tax investigation a which hunt.Credit:AP

The reports, prosecutors wrote, would justify a grand jury inquiry into a range of possible crimes, including tax and insurance fraud and falsification of business records. It is the first time the office has suggested tax fraud might be among the possible areas of investigation, The New York Times wrote.

“Any investigation into the types of potential financial improprieties described above would, of necessity, require a review, not only of tax returns, but source documents, working papers, and communications of the sort identified in the Mazars Subpoena, to evaluate the accuracy and good faith of the positions taken in the filings, as well as the roles of various employees and other potential witnesses,” the filing said.

Trump has called Vance's investigation “a fishing expedition” and “a continuation of the witch hunt — the greatest witch hunt in history.”

The US Supreme Court has already ruled against Trump once in the case, dismissing his argument that presidents are immune from state criminal inquiries as long as they are in office.

Trump's legal team then tried a different approach, saying the subpoena seeking his returns was issued in bad faith.

That argument was also rejected by a federal judge last month. Trump appealed.

Even if the appeals court decides in Vance's favour, it is unlikely that Trump's returns will then become public before the election. Any material produced as a result of the subpoena will also be protected by grand jury secrecy rules.

AP

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